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irrregular plurals

From:J Matthew Pearson <pearson@...>
Date:Friday, February 9, 2001, 8:02
Malagasy does not regularly mark plurality, but there are a
couple nouns which tend to denote groups of individuals.  The
noun "olona" is generally translated "people", while "ankizy" is
usually interpreted as "children, group of children".  The latter
is apparently unrelated to "zaza", "zanaka", or "anaka", the
nouns commonly used to refer to a single child (of these,
"zanaka/anaka" appears to mean "offspring, child [of someone]",
while "zaza" just means something like "young person").

However, although a plural interpretation for "olona" and
"ankizy" is preferred by speakers I've talked to, a singular
interpretation can be forced.  For example, one of my consultants
accepts "ankizy" when preceded by a singular determiner, in which
case it must mean "child" rather than "children".  So these are
not 'true' plurals; they just tend to favour a plural denotation.

I stole this idea of suppletive plurals for my conlang Tokana:
Like Malagasy, Tokana does not mark a singular/plural distinction
on nouns; however, there are a couple words which are used to
refer to groups of individuals, which are unrelated to the words
used to refer to a single individual.  Not coincidentally, they
have the same denotations as the Malagasy words mentioned above:

  koin   "person"      tenu'   "people, group of people"
  pyi    "child"       lati    "children, group of children"

(The word "lati" is probably unconsciously based on the Russian
suppletive plural "deti" = "children", mentioned in a previous